/Effective Friday: City of Tempe patrons, employees must resume mask-wearing inside city facilities

Effective Friday: City of Tempe patrons, employees must resume mask-wearing inside city facilities

July 28, 2021

Tempe, AZ – In its continuing effort to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Tempe will once again require patrons and city employees at indoor city-run facilities to wear face coverings until further notice.

This requirement will be enforced regardless of vaccination status. It will not apply at this time to city parks, playgrounds or other outdoor facilities. Children under 6 will again be exempted from the requirement.

The CDC issued new guidance July 27 recommending that people in areas of substantial virus spread wear masks in indoor spaces whether or not they are vaccinated. Arizona and the City of Tempe, among other local communities, meet the threshold for substantial community spread.

Maricopa County case count data and wastewater testing data for Tempe show a more elevated level of community virus spread. To see the data, visit tempe.gov/indicators. Vaccination rates among eligible populations also are lower than is desired, which is contributing to higher case counts regionally.

Tempe’s action to require masks again is consistent with state law and the Governor’s Executive Orders. The city is not re-implementing a citywide mask mandate that applies to all places of public accommodation, such as restaurants and businesses.

Despite Gov. Doug Ducey’s restriction of mask mandates, any governmental entity can continue to choose to require face coverings for employees and patrons within its own facilities. The federal government’s mask mandate continues to apply to transportation equipment and facilities, such as bus and light rail.

City officials will re-examine local data, re-evaluate local conditions and note evolving CDC guidance in the coming weeks to determine future courses of action.

Tempe urges people to get vaccinated

Tempe urges anyone eligible who has not yet been vaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It is the best protection available today against the virus. Finding a location to get the free vaccine is easier than ever. Text your zip code to 438829 for the closest locations or call 800-232-0233. Free rides and childcare are available.

Tempe businesses are free to implement their own rules

For Tempe businesses that wish to re-implement mask wearing for their patrons and employees, the city has continued to maintain a collection of downloadable, printable signs at tempe.gov/BusinessDownloads. The city also updates COVID-19 information at tempe.gov/coronavirus.

City Council meetings continuing virtually

While the City Council had been planning to return to the Council Chambers for its meetings effective with the Aug. 5 Regular Council Meeting, that has been postponed due to the new CDC guidance. The Council will continue to meet virtually, as will some city Boards and Commissions. Agendas and participation information are at tempe.gov/clerk.

For questions, call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Media contact: Nikki Ripley, City of Tempe, 480-313-8850